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יום הכיפורים תשפ"א באתר ישיבה
Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Korach

Parashat Korach

Land of Milk and Honey

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The expression, "a land of milk and honey," appears in the Torah - with one exception - only in reference to the Land of Israel. That exception is found in our parasha; Datan and Aviram, Korach’s co-conspirators, abuse the term by applying it to Egypt (Bamidbar 16:13). The midrash (Lekach Tov) teaches that Datan and Aviram had prospered in Egypt and therefore saw it as a land of plenty.

But Israel is the land of milk and honey because its agricultural bounty is not merely material. The Rambam (Guide to the Perplexed III, 43) calls Israel "the best place in the land and the fattest" [as in "fat of the land"]. This description appears earlier in the Sifrei (Devarim 37): "A land of milk and honey - its fruit are as fat as milk and as sweet as honey... fat is the Land of Israel... The Land of Israel is higher than all other lands and is therefore superior to them." The "elevation" to which the Sifrei refers is the land’s proximity to God’s blessing.

The Avnei Nezer (Neot Deshe, parashat Shelach) writes that the manna that descended daily from heaven to sustain Israel in the desert never ceased altogether; to this very day, its nature permeates the produce of the Land of Israel. Rav Kook teaches that unlike the food of other lands, "the food of the Land of Israel is holy" (Orot Hakodesh III, p. 295).

May all Israel merit to dwell in the Land, to "eat of its fruit and be sated with its bounty."

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